One Liner: I’ve got a silk shirt in my closet that I’m not afraid to use.
The Skinny: We were really into singer/songwriter Americana artists in the ’90s. Kim Richey was an underrated part of that ’90s Americana period. Mercury slicked her up for this release, going for a Shawn Colvin “Sunny Came Home” vibe.
Sounds like: Sheryl Crow, Shawn Colvin, Natalie Mains, Freedy Johnston, Jakob Dylan, Melissa Etheridge, Lucinda Williams, Jackson Browne, 10,000 Maniacs, Jann Arden, Mary Black
Deeper Thoughts: I’ll just say that if you aren’t familiar with Kim Richey’s work, you should buy this disc. Her Americana songwriting chops are as good as Sheryl Crow, Shawn Colvin or Natalie Merchant. Mercury brought in super-producer Hugh Padgham (Phil Collins, XTC, The Police) in an attempt to break Kim into the unit-sales echelon with the aforementioned. Glimmer was a disappointment from that standpoint, but it’s one heck of a record. Kim’s voice is silky smooth and she assembled a killer band, including Dominic Miller and session-ace Waddy Wachtel on guitars. You can hear the fertile collaboration Kim had with these musicians in the great parts they cooked up to flesh out her compositions. And Padgham did what he does. This woman writes some of the best bridges ever. A pop country gem.
The Sonics: This disc has a depth and complexity that makes for satisfying multiple listenings. It also gives me the feeling that Padgham could’ve produced XTC’s Skylarking. There’s lots of great organic sounds and tons of moody atmospherics, with a surprise around every corner. There’s a sturdy bottom end on each tune, and the disc has more top-end sparkle than any file or stream I’ve heard. This disc is a reference standard for me, in a similar way as Mary Black’s No Frontiers.